IDA adjusts project fees to boost agency revenue

The Fulton County Industrial Development Agency board discusses raising fees at the group's annual meeting Tuesday at the Fort Johnstown Annex in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Industrial Development Agency board of directors on Tuesday raised its fees for projects as a way to boost revenue for the agency.

The board took action at its annual meeting at the Fort Johnstown Annex after IDA Executive Director James Mraz said it might be time to raise fees.

“We’re losing out on some potential revenue, given the market that’s out there,” Mraz said.

Businesses utilizing the IDA must pay certain fees associated with their projects, and the board reviewed the agency’s current fee schedule. Fulton County IDA has a $1,600 application fee. Its fee schedule includes an administrative fee for straight lease projects, which Mraz said is currently a payment of .25 percent of the project’s cost subject to sales tax.

The board approved raising that fee to .75 percent of the project’s cost subject to sales tax.

Mraz said the IDA is not giving up an advantage by raising the fee.

“We’re going to be right in the ballpark of what everybody is doing,” he said.

Mraz said IDAs that already have the .75 percent fee are in: Montgomery, Schoharie, Albany, Cayuga, Clinton, Greene and Madison counties. IDAs with 1 percent project cost fees include ones in Delaware and Herkimer counties.

He said he takes responsibility for the percentages not being increased earlier.

“The state of New York charges IDAs when we issue bonds,” Mraz noted.

He said the Fulton County IDA passes those costs on to the entity that requests the bonds, but Fulton County’s fees have lagged behind.

“These percentages are outdated,” Mraz said. “The state has upped them.”

He said the state has increased the bond issuance fee as follows: from .14 percent to .168 percent for projects worth $1 million or less; from .28 percent to .336 percent for projects $1 million to $5 million; from .42 percent to .504 percent for projects in the $5 million to $10 million range; and from .56 percent to .672 percent for projects in the $10 million to $20 million range.

Other fees used by IDAs include refunding fees, special meeting fees, and Payment In Lieu Of Taxes and State Environmental Quality Review fees.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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